Three municipalities are on board with a military, intelligence and other special service training provider coming to Northumberland County.
Oak Grove Technologies, of Raleigh, N.C., was approved by county commissioners in July to use the county-owned land at the Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area for a fee of $3,000 annually for three years to offer training for military, police and other law enforcement agencies as well as $1,200 per day for use of any facilities. The group has been seeking other contracts with other municipalities and private landowners for other styles of training, including subterranean training in active coal mines.
"We’ve talked with Oak Grove and have interest in what they have to offer," said Coal Township Manager Robert Slaby. "But we have not voted on anything and have not worked out any agreement. I think that will come over the next couple of months."
Shamokin and Zerbe Township signed tentative agreements with Oak Grove in July. Shamokin Solicitor Vince Rovito is working on the details of the contract for the city.
"Absolutely, I'm in favor of it," said Shamokin Mayor John Brown. "Anything that will bring people to this area and have them spend money on our businesses is a good thing."
Brown said it was his understanding that the company would bring people on a regular basis for up to two weeks at a time. Lodging and restaurants would get a boost, he said.
"There's a lot of pluses," he said.
Chris Cornell, the business development manager for Oak Grove and former captain in the 75th Ranger Regiment, also known as Army Rangers, said at the commissioner's meeting that the timeframe to make the training a reality is uncertain due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He expected it to be within six months.
Oak Grove Technologies “blends the depth of our training expertise with the right technical proficiencies to deliver game-changing solutions,” according to its website. “Our capabilities are not confined to the boundaries of markets. We offer all of our capabilities to the Department of Defense, government agencies, law enforcement, health care, commercial and nonprofit organizations.”
Oak Grove provides expertise and services across six technical specializations: learning solutions; training; intelligence service; language, regional, expertise, and culture (LREC); strategic communications; and technology. They can provide training for local, state and federal forces.